Yes, Auntie, I'm still single. And in therapy. And discouraged by more reminders of how little I can control.
by Jane D.
The cousin and her beau are here. They arrived as a package of four, if you add on the nosy uncle and aunt. At the mass family gathering at the fancy-schmancy restaurant a few days after their arrival, the annoying aunt made it a point of highlighting my singleness when another cousin asked me if I wanted to attend a networking drink with him.
"Are there single people there? Because Jane's single," she said, pointing out my status update in between foie gras and steak. I wish I were capable of simply shrugging the comment off, but instead it kept circling me like an annoying mosquito.
I shared the dinner happenings with the British counselor (she's not even a certified shrink) who told me that I was seeing life through a dark lens. My singleness was bothering me; I was ashamed of it, so my reaction towards anyone who said anything about my singleness would be on my shit list, she said.
"Auntie might have been comparing you with her daughter to make herself feel better, but you are comparing yourself with others too," the Brit said. I agreed with her 100 percent and thought that was something a good friend might have shared with me. But now what to do about this? She told me to pick up Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence and handed me some worksheets on reading body language. I sighed and thought, Here we go again, another dead end. People with ADHD struggle with reading others, listening, and staying on track in conversations, so was she suggesting that we could retrain ourselves through cognitive behavioral therapy, essentially trumping the way our brains are already wired? The therapist's sessions have felt very loosey-goosey. I feel like someone's trying to sell me snake oil.
And news from the home front topped off the visit from the relatives. The sister tells me that she's planning on a hip replacement come fall. Her hip has been breaking down for many years now; I guess it was too optimistic to think that the problem would simply go away. This piece of news made it clear once again that so many things in life are out of my control. Argh.